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Drum & Bugle Corps

DCI Eden Prairie makes Minnesota Brass a media star

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Kyle Tsuchiya (center), a 2014 graduate of Eden Prairie High School, performs with Minnesota Brass during an exhibition June 29 in Alexandria, Minn. (Photo: David Whitaker)

Kyle Tsuchiya (center), a 2014 graduate of Eden Prairie High School, performs with Minnesota Brass during an exhibition June 29 in Alexandria, Minn. (Photo: David Whitaker)

Minnesota Brass has been getting lots of attention lately from the Twin Cities media. It’s all part of the excitement building for DCI Eden Prairie, which will feature the hometown drum and bugle corps on Friday night (July 11) along with some of Drum Corps International’s top units .

DCI’s change of venue from its annual DCI Minnesota competition at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis to Aerie Stadium in Eden Prairie played a big part in the coverage. The new site piqued the interest of the suburb’s two weekly newspapers, the Sun Current and Eden Prairie News. The weeklies focused on several members of Minnesota Brass who graduated recently from Eden Prairie High School: mellophone player Olivia Urbanski, bass drummer Kayla Furmanski  and snare drummers Zach Fitzgibbon, Ben Poirier and Kyle Tsuchiya. Also featured were percussionist Peter Wagner, an alumnus of EPHS, and hornline leader Scott Palmer, who also is the band director at EPHS.

Palmer also serves on the brass staff of the Blue Devils of Concord, Calif., which will be competing at DCI Eden Prairie. He talked about working with the 15-time DCI champion and Minnesota Brass, the 2011 DCA champion, at the same time.

“It’s challenging from a schedule perspective,” he told the Eden Prairie News. “They’re both great organizations that are going full cylinder all the time.”

The other corps competing at DCI Eden Prairie include DCI World Class finalists Bluecoats of Canton, Ohio, and Boston Crusaders of Boston, as well as DCI Open Class finalist Legends of Kalamazoo, Mich. Rounding out the field are DCI Open Class favorite Jersey Surf of Camden County, N.J., and an international guest, Blue Saints of Sudbury, Ontario.

As show organizer and Minnesota Brass alum Brent Turner told the EP News, the Blue Devils are expected to have stiff competition from the Bluecoats. “They’re kind of the underdogs right now,” he said of the Bluecoats.

That showdown is one of the reasons why the Minneapolis Star Tribune selected DCI Eden Prairie as a “Best Bet” – with a shout-out to Minnesota Brass – in its Events Calendar and its free Going Out app, which rounds up Twin Cities happenings for thousands of mobile users. The Star Tribune also featured DCI Eden Prairie in its west-suburban community section.

It’s not too late to buy tickets to DCI Eden Prairie – 7:30 p.m. July 11 at Eden Prairie High School Stadium (17185 Valley View Rd., Eden Prairie). It promises to be a great night for Minnesota Brass and drum corps fans.

Corps necklace establishes a new Minnesota Brass tradition

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Trumpet player Marissa Moeller's necklace shows that she has been with Minnesota Brass for one year.

Trumpet player Marissa Moeller’s corps necklace shows that she has finished one season with Minnesota Brass.

When Minnesota Brass takes the field this season, members are wearing more than new uniforms — they’re also proudly bearing a new tradition in the form of corps necklaces. The neckwear was presented for the first time to performers and staff members at last fall’s end-of-season banquet to denote how long each person has been with the drum and bugle corps. But for corps director Eric Molho, the necklaces mean much more than that. “It’s important for all of us to have tangible, meaningful reminders that we’re all part of one organization — and many of us refer to that organization as a family,” he said. “The necklace helps serve as a reminder across different ensembles, different seasons, different sections that we all share a common experience and common connection.” To create the necklaces, Molho enlisted the help of baritone/euphonium section leaders Jacob Welle and Sam Springer, and Linda Belcher of the support staff. The trio drew inspiration from similar efforts from DCI corps such as Spirit of Atlanta, the Madison Scouts and the Colts of Dubuque, Iowa — all of which count Minnesota Brass members among their alumni. “We looked at a few websites to find a ‘look,’ something that was meaningful to us,” Springer said. “But truth is our logo was what we valued most.” Their efforts resulted in necklaces that featured a large center bead with the Minnesota Brass logo on a black cord, along with a variety of beads with meanings depending on color and style:

A close-up of the MBI corps necklace.

A close-up of the Minnesota Brass corps necklace.

* Blue round bead: marching field member * Gray bead: staff member (field, support, administration, board) * White bead: one year with the corps * Black bead: five years * Silver bead: 10 years * Gold bead: 20 years * Red bead: 30 years * Wooden bead: winter drumline member * Light blue glass bead: winter color guard member (A small blue glass bead, available for 2014 only, honors the memory of Kayla Koranda, 18, a member of the winter drumline who was killed in January.) “The beads per section tied them together, and the years just held tight to the fact that we never age out of drum corps; we just age in to senior corps,” Springer said.

Trumpet player Kurt "Flash" Schiebel wears a necklace that shows he has been with MBI for years.

Trumpet player Kurt “Flash” Schiebel wears a necklace that shows he has been with the corps for 28  years.

Now, thanks to the corps necklaces, members can carry around a little part of Minnesota Brass wherever they go. “For each individual, the necklace is now something every member has to signify their experience,” Molho said. “While many of us have jackets and all of us have memories, the corps previously did not make sure that every member had a memento, a reminder of what it is they have accomplished as an individual performer. Hopefully, the necklace will be a source of pride as people recall their own hard work, commitment to excellence and positive experience with the corps.”

(Any Minnesota Brass alumni who are interested in getting a necklace representing their involvement with the corps should contact alumni@mnbrass.org.)

Happy Independence Day!

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Minnesota Brass would like to wish everyone a fun and safe 4th of July.

The corps will be marching in the Delano 4th of July Parade which starts at 10:30AM Friday. Come out and see the snazzy new parade uniforms.

If Apple Valley is closer to your home, you’re in luck, as the corps is pulling double duty and will also be marching in the Apple Valley Freedom Days Parade, which starts at 1:00PM.

Hope to see you out on the parade route!

Madison Scouts feature Minnesota Brass alums Greene, DeHerder

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Madison Scouts trumpet players Bryan DeHerder, left, and Keegan Greene meet up with Minnesota Brass caption head Paul Terry at the Thunder of Drums show in Mankato on June 30.

Madison Scouts trumpet players Bryan DeHerder, left, and Keegan Greene meet up with Minnesota Brass caption head Paul Terry at the Thunder of Drums show in Mankato on June 30.

Monday night’s Thunder of Drums show in Mankato offered Minnesota Brass a chance to check out some of DCI’s top drum and bugle corps and even spot a few familiar faces. Brass caption head Paul Terry met up with Keegan Greene and Bryan DeHerder, two trumpeters with the Madison Scouts who started their drum corps careers with Minnesota Brass.

“Very proud to see two Minnesota Brass alums with Madison this year!” Terry said.

A few days later, while en route back to Madison, Greene and DeHerder took time to reflect on how their time with Minnesota Brass prepared them for the rigors of a summer tour with a DCI World Class finalist like the Scouts.

“Without Minnesota Brass I never would have even heard of the Scouts and definitely wouldn’t have auditioned without so many people supporting me,” Greene said. “Minnesota Brass gave me a confidence in myself and in people I didn’t have before.”

DeHerder echoed that sentiment.

“Minnesota Brass helped me get into a World Class DCI corps by teaching me how to play my horn in a way that’s best for a drum corps setting, both in technique and musicality,” he said. “It also prepared me for the difficulty of the drill and choreography. I think Minnesota Brass is the main reason I am one of the better marchers in the corps.”

DeHerder added, “The biggest thing I’ve gained from Minnesota Brass is the support of a family that can help me when I’m in a bind and someone to talk to when I’m unsure of what to do. It feels amazing having that kind of support.”

Fellow trumpeters united by Minnesota Brass: Bryan DeHerder, center left, and Keegan Greene of the Madison Scouts; and, from left, Mimmie Sjöberg, Marissa Moeller, Karissa Olson and Libby Witte of MBI.

Fellow trumpeters united by Minnesota Brass: Bryan DeHerder, center left, and Keegan Greene of the Madison Scouts; and, from left, Mimmie Sjöberg, Marissa Moeller, Karissa Olson and Libby Witte of Minnesota Brass.

Brass members welcome Alex Cary of the Troopers

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Photo Jun 30, 9 19 43 PM

Left to right: Tony Peterson, Alex Cary, Jess Belcher

2014 Minnesota Brass members welcomed past member Alex Cary back to Minnesota at the Thunder of Drums drum and bugle corps show on June 30 in Mankato.

Alex “Care Bear” Cary is a 2013 Anoka High School graduate who played snare in the Minnesota Brass 2013 production, “Primal.” For 2014 he’s marching with the Troopers of Casper, Wyoming, a DCI World Class corps. After the Troopers’ performance, Minnesota Brass members Tony Peterson (baritone) and Jess Belcher (euphonium) met up with Alex to wish him well on tour because this was the Troopers’ last Minnesota stop on the corps’ summer schedule.

Alex said he was excited to be part of the Troopers organization, laying down beats from percussion writer Paul Rennick. We wish him luck on tour, knowing he will always be a part of the Minnesota Brass family.